France: Of postage stamps and nudism

“FEMEN is on French stamp. Now all homophobes, extremists, fascists will have to lick my ass when they want to send a letter.”

Those words in an Agence France-Presse article on The Local site (offering France’s news in English) gave me my morning chuckle today. They were tweeted by Inna Shevchenko, the leader of the French arm of Femen, “a feminist group known for its topless protests against sexual exploitation of women, sexism and religious institutions.” The 23-year-old, a Ukrainian who has been granted political asylum in France, finds herself at the centre of controversy after an artist used her likeness, in part, for a French postage stamp emblazoned with the face of Marianne, France’s revolutionary symbol.

France’s Christian Democrat Party along with French Spring — who all made a lot of noise in their opposition to same-sex marriage legislation — are crying foul and calling for a boycott of the postage stamp, as in this tweet from French Spring: “Are there not enough beautiful and emblematic women in France that we have to import our models from Ukraine?”

The artist insists that the postage stamp was inspired by “a mix of real people,” according to Agence France Presse.

And Inna says “she had been unaware she was an inspiration for the stamp.” Reports Agence France-Presse:

“France always recognized women fighting… (It) is a symbol for all the world,” said the activist, who fears persecution in Ukraine after sawing down a wooden cross in Kyiv, in a stunt intended to support Russian band Pussy Riot. Now all homophobes, extremists, fascists will have to lick my ass when they want to send a letter,” she added with typical provocation on her Twitter account.

Meanwhile, the same site has an opinion piece called Nudists are criminalized just for getting naked about the persecution faced by nudists in France. It leads with this: “As thousands of naturist tourists descend on France this summer to get naked on some of the country’s beaches, a French nudist-rights organization tells The Local why an urgent change in the law is needed to protect them from being seen as sex offenders.”

Naturists, take note.


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The mission of the "FEMEN" movement is to create the most favourable conditions for the young women to join up into a social group with the general idea of the mutual support and social responsibility, helping to reveal the talents of each member of the movement.

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